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Women in African Colonial Histories

Edited by Jean Allman, Susan Geiger and Nakanyike Musisi

Published by: Indiana University Press

352 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 x 0.00 in, 2 b&w photos, 2 maps, 1 index

  • Paperback
  • 9780253215079
  • Published: April 2002


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  • eBook
  • 9780253108876
  • Published: April 2002


How did African women negotiate the complex political, economic, and social forces of colonialism in their daily lives? How did they make meaningful lives for themselves in a world that challenged fundamental notions of work, sexuality, marriage, motherhood, and family? By considering the lives of ordinary African women—farmers, queen mothers, midwives, urban dwellers, migrants, and political leaders—in the context of particular colonial conditions at specific places and times, Women in African Colonial Histories challenges the notion of a homogeneous "African women's experience." While recognizing the inherent violence and brutality of the colonial encounter, the essays in this lively volume show that African women were not simply the hapless victims of European political rule. Innovative use of primary sources, including life histories, oral narratives, court cases, newspapers, colonial archives, and physical evidence, attests that African women's experiences defy static representation. Readers at all levels will find this an important contribution to ongoing debates in African women's history and African colonial history.